Why DFW Residents Should Speak in Favor of a Lower Smog Standard at Thursday’s EPA Public Hearing in Arlington

by jim on January 26, 2015

1 CHRONI27

All Day NATIONAL Public Hearing on a New Federal Ozone Standard

Thursday, January 29th, 9am to 7:30 pm

Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram

There are only three national public hearings on the possibility of lowering the national federal ozone, or smog, standard. One is in Washington DC, another is in Sacramento, California and the third is right here in Arlington, Texas. We need everyone that can come and speak for 5 minutes on the importance of cleaner air to do so. You know industry and elected officials hostile to the EPA and the Clean AIr Act will be well-represented

To secure your 5-minute speaking slot, e-mail Eloise Shepard and ask for one in the time period during the day on Thursday most convenient for you. Please do it asap: shepherd.eloise@epa.gov.

There are at least two very good reasons why North Texas residents should support a new lower smog standard of 60 parts per billion – the lowest standard under consideration by the EPA.

CHAPPs study result1. DFW has Epidemic Childhood Asthma Rates 

According to a first-of-its kind survey in 2008 by Cook Children’s Hospital, one out of every four DFW children ages 5-9 suffered from asthma. That was more than twice the national average, and more than three times the average for the state of Texas. Asthma is the most common cause of missed school days and is one of most common causes of Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations.

The DFW Hospital Council estimates nearly 1500 children in Dallas County visited an emergency room or were admitted to a hospital due to asthma in 2012. Dallas County has the highest number of child asthma hospitalization in the state.

According to EPA itself, a new 60 parts per billion (ppb) standard for ozone would eliminate roughly 1.8 million asthma attacks, 1.9 million missed school days, and 6,400 premature deaths nationwide – 95% of all ozone-related deaths. Few regions would benefit more from such a lower ozone standard than DFW.

2. It’s One of the Few Ways to Force Reductions in Harmful Air Pollution in Texas plumes-of-dark-smoke-are-released-into-the-air-from-a-smokestack copy

Texas is a place where industry rides rough shod over state regulators and citizens don’t have a level playing field to seek relief from the adverse health consequences of air pollution. Tougher federal ozone standards are one of the only ways to reduce air pollution from large local sources like the cement kilns in Midlothian, gas facilities in the Barnett Shale, and coal plants in East Texas.

Lower federal ozone standards over the last two decades, combined with grassroots campaigns have resulted in the lower volumes of smog pollution from the Midlothian cement kilns, plus reductions in other kinds of harmful pollution from the kilns as well, like particulate matter, and carcinogens. A new 60 ppb ozone standard would mean the kilns would have to add state-of-the-art controls to bring down those totals even more – to as much as 90% reductions. The same is true with the East Texas coal plants and with polluting gas facilities. To get down to 60 ppb ozone levels in DFW could mean deep cuts from the largest sources of industrial air pollution in North Texas. Something that probably won’t happen without a new, lower federal ozone standard.

And that won't happen without a lot of you showing up on Thursday to say you want and need cleaner air to breathe. Reserve your 5-minute speaking slot now. It's a good investment if you live in Texas.

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